Pennsylvania slows down on key economic development program

    Pennsylvania is throttling back on one of its signature economic development programs.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf has sent rejection letters to Philadelphia, Coatesville and other municipalities that submitted applications to the Keystone Opportunity Zone program.

    The program tries to spur revitalization of abandoned or blighted properties by exempting their owners from local and state taxes.

    The Wolf administration says the state can’t afford new tax breaks.

    Wolf spokesman Jeff Sheridan tells The Inquirer, “This is about money, and the state is strapped.”

    Wolf signed legislation expanding the program last summer. But Scott Dunkelberger, an official in the state Department of Community and Economic Development, wrote to rejected applicants that it’s unlikely the state will designate new properties until Wolf gets his way on an overhaul of the state’s tax system.

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